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Ever Wondered How Is Plywood Made? Ask A Timber Supplier

With an almost infinite number of uses in manufacturing, thanks to its durability and nice finish, plywood is the construction material of choice for many people – from professional builders to DIY novices. Whether it's to create structural supports or fences, home exteriors, furniture and even marine applications (such as boats and the docks that receive them) – there truly is no end to the usefulness of plywood.

As a leading timber supplier in the South East of England, we regularly process orders and receive questions about whether plywood would be right for their particular project. So, if you yourself have ever wondered how this popular building material is made, read on for our quick guide!

How a Timber Supplier Creates Plywood

  • From Raw Materials – The robust nature of plywood is all thanks to the three (or more) layers of wood that are bonded together with adhesive. The different grain patterns of each layer of wood provide the strength that is needed (in both directions) to offset any damage that may be inflicted. These layers can be made from any type of tree – from pine, cedar and spruce, to ash, maple and mahogany – basically, all woods that are strong and durable, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, with an attractive colour and grain.

    Once cut by a timber supplier, the logs from these trees are carried off to be conditioned, which ensures that they are able to produce a good quality veneer for when they go through to the next stage. This process will normally involve submerging or steaming the logs with hot water in order to soften them, which can take anywhere from 12 to 40 hours to accomplish.

  • Creating The Veneer – 'Veneer' is the name given to thin layers of wood that are adapted to other applications – in this case, they are combined together to create a piece of plywood. Once conditioned, the logs are lathed; peeled to produce long sheets of wood. Any defects will be clipped out, which will produce an even smaller veneer – this then can be joined with other small sheets to create a normal-sized one. Recycling at its very best.

    When cut, the sheets must be dried in order to avoid any shrinkage once they're glued together into plywood – they can then be used immediately or stored for use later. The sheets will be sorted according to appearance and quality into face, core and back sheets – which makes it easier to compose the final layout.

  • Sticking Together – The timber supplier then passes the different material sheets through a glue spreader that applies even levels of adhesive. Each sheet is stacked with the back at the bottom, the core in the middle and the face on top. Each of these now-assembled sheets are then fed into a presser which compresses and heats them; activating the stickiness of the adhesive and ensuring that there is good contact between each layer for them to come together. Once completed, each piece of plywood is cut to size and the pieces that are deemed 'higher grade' are sanded for a good finish.



  • Ready For Sale – The timber suppliers will then stamp each piece they create with a trademark that informs the eventual buyer about the grade of the wood, the mill number, the exposure rating and other relevant information. A sample is also taken in order to test for the quality of the finished product – this includes bonding and mechanical strength, as well as formaldehyde emissions. Once a further visual check of the plywood is completed, it is then ready to be dispatched to be sold.

So that's our quick guide to how plywood is made! If you're looking for plywood as a building material for your next project, why not consider Pennyhill to be your timber supplier of choice?

Need High-Quality Timber For Your Project? Choose Pennyhill Timber.

Whether you're an experienced builder looking for a large quantity of first-rate timber for your project or if you're doing some DIY and simply need some extra supplies to fix any issues you may have around the home, business or garden, the team here Pennyhill can provide you with whatever it is you need.

Having been operating as a timber supplier for almost 20 years now, we have built up a leading business that is able to procure high-quality materials at great prices. Furthermore, our experience has allowed us to gain a wide and varied knowledge on the applications of the different types of timber we retail – so any questions you may have, please ask!

Feel free to browse our website for further information on the many timber products we have on sale. Have any questions you'd like to ask our experienced tradesmen? Don't hesitate to give us a call on 01483 486 739 or send an e-mail to info@pennyhilltimber.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can visit our Surrey timber yard in person – we are located at Lucas Green Road, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9YB.